HIMYM episode 5x06 (94)

Bagpipes - barney and robin
First aired:
November 2, 2009
Pamela Fryman
Robia Rashid
Barney's Blog

Images (8)

Lily and Marshall have relationship problems, while Ted tries to determine if Barney and Robin's relationship is really going as well as it appears.


This page or section uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia's Bagpipes (How I Met Your Mother) article. (view authors).

You can contribute to the How I Met Your Mother Wiki by rewriting the copied content.

Future Ted mentions that in the fall of 2009, some new neighbors had moved in upstairs. They have loud sex on a regular basis, which Ted euphemistically describes as "playing the bagpipes" to his children. Past Ted even comically said "Shut the bagpipes-up!". He had to deal with this distraction as his friends dealt with couple troubles. At MacLaren's, Barney worries about Lily and Marshall divorcing after witnessing Marshall clean a dish at Lily's request. He explains that he would never give into a demand he didn't care about (playing out several sexy scenarios with an imaginary Lily), and that he and Robin never fight. In fact, both of them pathologically avoid fighting if a conflict comes up, Barney simply leaves, while Robin gets naked. After Marshall shows up, Barney consoles him on "how he's holding up", and Ted explains that he thinks that they are splitting up. Barney then claims that he is the "King of Relationships", and Marshall claims that he can be a good boyfriend "in his sleep". Barney then convinces Marshall that he shouldn't have to wash dishes if he doesn't mind it, by using a hypothetical situation if Barney was married to Lily. In the re-enactment, Barney treats Lily like a classic 19 century wife, and then imagines Lily giving him a lap dance. Ted then tries to tell Marshall that Barney is completely wrong, but Marshall is thwarted by his suggestions, and even though he didn't mind before, he "hates" washing the dishes. Robin then shows up, confirming that she and Barney never fight, except for one fight pertaining who's more awesome.They just called it a tie and had sex. They leave for a skiing trip, and Marshall, heeding Barney's awful advice, decides to tell Lily he won't wash his dishes immediately. Ted warns Marshall it is a bad idea and they make a "slap bet."

She promptly kicks him out after Marshall's incoherent arguing escalates into several separate issues. Ted slaps Marshall then gladly lets him stay at his apartment. While Lily and Marshall fight, Ted observes that Barney and Robin are acting suspiciously romantic, as if they were the perfect couple. Marshall then explains what happened that night when Lily kicked him out, trying to copy Barney's example but explaining them all wrong to Lily and making it look like that Marshall is complaining that he makes more money than she does. Then they start fighting about everything else they disagreed on, while Lily and Marshall get into multiple fights. Marshall claims that it's hard to talk to Lily because she's all "eyes and boobs." Barney then gives him more advice to continue his shenanigans, and Marshall is again convinced. Ted thinks that Marshall should just wash the dishes, but Marshall is pumped up with manhood and storms off. Robin shows up, and Barney and she call each other disgusting nicknames, which Ted knows that Robin hates when he tried to call her "Robsie-Wobsie", "Scherbs", and even himself "T-Moz." After another night of listening to his upstairs neighbors "bagpipe," he goes to their door to confront them, only to find they are very old. Since Ted didn't have the heart to tell them to stop, he just had some hard candy, smiled at a few racist comments, and left. It occurs to him then how to find out what's going on with Robin and Barney. He confronts them at the bar with a secret weapon: Phil, Barney's downstairs neighbor. Phil's presence makes them admit that they fight often. It all began after being stuck together on a ski lift during a disagreement, preventing Barney from leaving or Robin from taking her clothes off. Marshall and Lily continue to fight, and Marshall complains that Lily has stopped feeding him. By showing his frustration, he tells him that Lily made "panCAKE, and bacon STRIP".

Barney and Robin had perpetrated the charade because they were "sick of everyone pointing out how crappy at relationships they both are", which they confess to Lily and Marshall. As Ted basks in his glory of being right, Lily has made dinner for herself, but it's Marshall's favorite. As Robin and Barney describe their violent and frequent fights, Lily and Marshall start to appreciate how calm their own relationship is and forgive each other immediately. Robin and Barney are perplexed by the mutual surrender, claiming that someone always has to "win" an argument, but Marshall and Lily assure them it is not a competition. When Barney and Robin leave, Lily and Marshall celebrate being the better couple. A scene is then shown of the floor below Marshall and Lily's apartment, where an old couple's chandelier is shaking violently, and bagpipes are heard.


  • Marshall's claim that he was in a committed relationship when Barney "had a ponytail and was still playing Dave Matthews Band on [his] mamma's Casio," is accurate: The events of Barney's hippie past occurred in 1998, as mentioned in Game Night, by which time Marshall and Lily had been together since their college freshman year in 1996, as first mentioned in the Pilot.
  • Barney uses his favorite number: he claims that the tally for beds he and Robin slept in is 83 and 1/2. Ted points out his using 83 for made-up statistics in Brunch.
  • Marshall and Ted place a Slap Bet, but without a Slap Bet Commissioner.
  • Future Ted uses another euphemism ("bagpipes" to mean having sex) to censor the story for his kids.
  • In the flashback to Barney walking out of the room to avoid a fight with Robin, she gets angry when she finds a bag of panties labelled "April 2008" in his apartment. In Do I Know You?, which occurs in September 2008, Barney hooks up with a waitress named April.
  • One of Barney and Robin's arguments mentioned here, where Robin smashes a plate and Barney goads her to stab him in the chest, is called "The Battle of the Dirty Dishes" by Lily in The Rough Patch.

Future References (Contains Spoilers)

  • Marshall is again unable to argue coherently with Lily in Big Days.
  • Ted and Robin argue over whether he and Victoria or she and Nick are in the better relationship in Nannies.


For a listing of all images on the wiki tagged as being from this episode, see Category:Bagpipes images.

Memorable Quotes

Barney: Well, now, I am the best at relationships. Even better than you and Lily.
Marshall: Awww, look at you. Had a girlfriend for five minutes and think you can play with the big boys. Adorable. Son, I've been in a relationship since you had a ponytail and were playing Dave Matthews Band on your mama's Casio. I'm a good boyfriend in my sleep. I can rock a killer footrub with one hand and brew a kick-ass pot of chamomile in the other that will make you weep. Hell, I've forgotten more about microwaving fat-free popcorn and watching Sandra Bullock movies than you'll ever know, but... thanks for your concern, rook'.

Barney: Okay, we all have our assignments for the weekend. Ted, you're gonna stand up to your neighbors. Marshall, you're going to stand up to Lily. And Robin, I'm gonna need you in some sort of a crouching position on the bear-skinned rug of our skiing chalet. Ready? Break!!

Ted: I see what's going on. You, my friend, are suffering from a little known condition—"little known" because I just made it up—called New Relationship Smugness.

Ted: I knew you were lying, you gotta wake up pretty early to slip one by the T-Mose.
Robin: Okay, seriously, stop it.

Marshall: I'm a lawyer. I argue for a living, but when it comes to Lily, I just get all flustered. How could you not? I mean, the girl's all eyes and boobs.
Barney: What happened to the "I'm tired after my draining day, "and I want to use my leftover energy showering you with love" argument?
Marshall: I should... have written that down. (flashback) Look, Lily, I... I make more money than you.
Lily: Excuse me?!
Marshall: Dance for me.
Ted and Barney: Dude.
Marshall: It all made so much sense when you said it, but when I said it, it turned into a fight.

Robin: The ski bunnies are back!
Ted: Hey, guys. How was your trip?
Barney: So perfect.
Robin: We just spent the whole weekend cuddling by the fire. No black diamonds, but a lot of red hearts. Okay, I'm gonna go unpack.
Barney: Hey, you. (sends her a kiss) (Robin "catches" the kiss)
Ted: Man. What the hell has gotten into you two? When did you become so nauseating?
Barney: Isn't it great to finally see her fulfilled emotionally, spiritually and sexually?
Ted: I dated her for a year.
Barney: Yeah!

Notes and Trivia

Goofs and Errors

  • Ted claims Robin is against nicknames, and uses this fact to realize that Barney and Robin's harmony was a charade. However, in Where Were We?, Robin calls Ted "Teddy Bear" after Ted compliments Robin on the blueness of her eyes. 
  • One of Marshall and Lily's fights is about Marshall missing the toilet in the middle of the night, but in Legendaddy, Marshall claims that it's Lily that does that not him, but this could be a joke to pick on her gap (aim).
  • At the end of the episode, Lily and Marshall, celebrating being the perfect couple, drink out of plastic glasses, which would be going completely against Marshall's beliefs as an environmentalist.

Allusions and Outside References

  • Barney misquotes and imitates Gandhi incorrectly, misconstruing his practice of civil disobedience as a laid-back passive approach to conflicts.
  • Marshall tells Barney he has "forgotten more about microwaving fat-free popcorn and watching Sandra Bullock movies than you’ll ever know" as a sign of his relationship expertise.
  • Ted wears an old Detroit Express shirt when going to confront his upstairs neighbors about their bagpiping. The Detroit Express is an old North American Soccer League team.
  • During their argument, one of the things Marshall complains about is Lily's Shining impression. Lily responds by bending her index finger and saying "Danny's not here, Mrs. Torrance" imitating the behavior and voice of the boy in the film.
  • Robin tells Ted that the new couple upstairs must be bagpiping pretty hard being she has a glass of water in her bedroom that is vibrating like Jurassic Park.


  • Potent - Explosion (during Robin's and Barney's fight)

Other Notes

  • Usually Marshall and Lily usually 'pause' when a fight gets heated or prolonged (see Come On and Unpause ).  They were not seen using that measure in this episode.  
  • International Airdates: Australia: March 18, 2010 on Channel 7; United Kingdom: July 1, 2010 on E4
  • In Barney's version of how to avoid a fight, he can be seen reading a newspaper which has an article about Neil Patrick Harris (the actor who plays Barney).
  • This episode is the only time when Marshall loses a bet or game.


  • Sam Stefanski - Phil


  • Noel Murray of The A.V. Club rated the episode with a grade B. [1]
  • Brian Zoromski of IGN gave the episode 9.2 out of 10. [2]
  • Cindy McLennan of Television Without Pity rated the episode with a grade B-. [3]
  • The St. Petersburg Comic Review gave this episode 8 out of 10 stars.  "The best part is finding out who the bagpipers are!"


External Links

Previous episode
Duel Citizenship
(all episodes)
Next episode →
The Rough Patch